Of all the things that you grab before heading out the door, the right EDC pen can be among the most useful. There are EDC pens designed for your keys, mini EDC pens, and, of course, there are fancy and expensive options out there, too. In short, there are seemingly endless options when it comes to finding the right EDC pen for you.
What Is an EDC Pen?
EDC is an acronym that stands for “Everyday Carry.” At its simplest, it’s any of your gadgets or accessories you carry with you every day. What EDC includes changes from guy to guy, but most of the time it includes a wallet and keychain, with room for flashlights, multitools, pocket knives, lighters, and pens.
There isn’t anything in particular that makes a pen an EDC pen. The only real requirement is that you carry it with you every day. There are some offerings that have really slick metal construction or a few gadgets in addition to the writing end. But you could also drop a simple plastic pen in your pocket and get similar results. A BIC Round Stic Xtra Life, for example, costs about $7 for 60 of them, meaning it’s entirely possible one purchase could last the rest of your life if you keep track of your stuff. Obviously there aren’t any gadgets or special tricks, but they’re pens and they write and you can carry them with you every day. That said, there are fancier (and much more aesthetic) options out there if you’re looking for an upgrade.
Why You Should Always Carry a Pen
Researchers are increasingly finding that print media improves reading comprehension and retention. It’s not too much of a leap to extend that to handwritten notes and lists. Sometimes just the act of physically writing something down helps commit the words to memory. Just ask anyone who has jotted down a to-do list or grocery list, then never checked the list again. Keeping a pen (and notebook) on yourself at all times means you won’t be fumbling for scraps of paper to keep yourself organized and on track.
The Best EDC Pens
If you’re on the fence about getting yourself an EDC pen, the Zebra G-450 is a good entry level experiment. You can pick up a single pen for just under $9 or a two pack for $18, which would essentially give you a do-over if you find it’s tougher to keep track of the pen than you originally expected. It’s also a good experiment because the metal construction is similar to the more expensive pens on this list, so you can see if a metal pen is something you want to bother with before you drop $40 (or more) on a writing instrument.
This pen is undeniably aesthetic in a minimalist way. Just looking at it is enjoyable — a feature made more enticing by just how many colors it comes in. This most recent limited edition has eight varieties, any of which would fit in well with whatever EDC you already have. The pen itself is all aluminum with a great balanced feeling, and the ink inserts have been redesigned to be smoother, more reliable, and carry more ink to start with.
ATech 9-in-1 Multitool
Combination gadgets that are on the cheaper side can often do all the jobs promised, but only about 60 percent as well as if you had just taken the extra minute or two to go and get the actual tool. This multitool from ATech is absolutely not cheaply constructed. The body, and every tool on it, are some kind of metal, whether it’s steel, aluminum, iron, or copper. It’s perfect for someone who, at various points of the day, needs to sign for packages, poke at a touchscreen device, open deliveries, and make basic repairs to smaller pieces of equipment or appliances.
The NOMAD Pen is similar to the Grafton in that it has a minimalist approach to pen design, with sleek lines and durable metals. One of the key differences is that this one is truly minimalist in that it only comes in one color scheme: a black and gray pen made of aluminum and steel. There aren’t any bells and whistles or any extra gadgets hanging off the sides. There isn’t even a clip to hold the thing in a pocket protector. It’s a pen, which is a simplicity and reliability that’s easy to get behind.
The Fisher AG7 is the pen that people made fun of NASA for spending billions on while the Russians used pencils. Two things: That story is Russian propaganda, and the Fisher space pen is a really good pen. It’s designed to write in all conditions encountered on Earth and in space, which are more conditions than you’re likely to ever encounter. It won’t fail in hot cars or subzero temperatures, it writes on glass and upside down, and you can stick it through an autoclave if you ever get paranoid about it carrying any pathogens or contaminants on it. It’s perfectly engineered for space and wildly overengineered for anything you’d ever actually need it for.
Tactile Turn Slim Bolt Action Pen
The secondary role of a pen has always been as a fidget toy, and this pen from Tactile Turn delivers. The bolt action is a ton of fun to flick around and around as you’re killing time between notes. It also delivers on the primary purposes of an EDC pen. It’s well made out of high quality metals, writes smoothly and reliably, and will last as long as you can find refills. There are also three different sizes: a 5.6” standard, 5.1” short, and 4.4” mini. Any of these can fulfill your EDC requirements.